Clarissa Chun was on the recruiting lane in her freshman year as head coach at the University of Iowa. The former Olympic bronze medalist sought the best talent from across the country to Iowa City.
Seven of those wrestlers competed in the prestigious Missouri Valley Invitational over the weekend. Although they competed untied, the results were stunning.
Sterling Dias (101), Nyla Valencia (109), Felicity Taylor (116), Nanea Estrella (136) and Reese Larramendy (143) won titles while identical twin sisters Emilie (101) and Brianna (109) Gonzalez were finalists.
Iowa combined for a 36-2 overall record with their only losses to teammates in the Finals. No Hawkeye coach could be in the corner as the team played untied.
“The results of this weekend feel incredibly rewarding,” said Valencia. “We really came together and supported each other during our games. All our hard work has paid off and it proves that we are capable of anything when we have each other’s backs. This is just the beginning for us.”
There were 495 participants in the tournament in 11 different weights.
For full results click here.
For a full summary of Iowa’s performance, click here.
Missouri Valley Invitational champions
101: Sterling Dias, Iowa-Unbound
109: Nyla Valencia, Iowa-Unbound
116: Felicity Taylor, Iowa-Unbound
123: Katie Gomez, individual
130: Lexie Basham, Wesleyan from Texas
136: Nanea Estrella, Iowa-Unbound
143: Reese Larramendy, Iowa-Unbound
155: Marlynne Deede, Augsburg
170: Ashley Lekas, Augsburg
191: Sydnee Kimber, McKendree
235: Riley Dempewolf, Indiana Tech
game of the tournament
There is an unspoken rivalry between NCAA and NAIA programs. The WCWA Championships settled the dispute earlier by hosting a national tournament with all schools from all divisions at the end of the year.
Women’s wrestling has grown significantly over the last four years, so separate championships are held for each division. The NAIA Invitational Championships were first held in 2019, while the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships (NCAA programs) began the following year.
The 130 pound final featured two of the best wrestlers in the country. Lexie Basham of Texas Wesleyan, a 2022 NAIA Champion, defeated Cam Geurin of McKendree, a two-time NCWWC Champion, 3-1 in the finals.
Basham scored the lone takedown, earning a win for the NAIA in the mythical contest between the two divisions.
However, it was the only official win for the NAIA in the Finals. Augsburg (NCAA D3) won two titles and McKendree (NCAA D2) won the other. Indiana Tech’s (NAIA) Riley Dempewolf won the 235-pound crown, but it’s not a sanctioned college weight for women.
Watch national champions Lexie Basham and Cam Guerin compete at the Missouri Valley Invitational
McKendree’s Sydnee Kimber defeated Missouri Valley’s Kelani Corbett 6-4 to claim the 191-pound title. The two will meet again on Tuesday, November 22 at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Austin, Texas.
Kimber is a three-time NCWWC champion, while Corbett placed third at the 2021 NAIA Invitational and placed first in 2022 when she competed for Lyon. She moved to the Missouri Valley where she wrestles for her brother Kevin.
Katie Gomez, 2021 U17 World Champion and 2022 U20 World Cup bronze medalist, also won a title in the individual competition. Gomez, who competes with Sunkist Kids, won the 123-pound title a year after graduating from high school.
“The tournament was great and I had great competition,” Gomez said. “I went there and was excited to see how much I’d improved in worlds. I definitely saw a lot more improvement in my strength. It also shows me how much more work I need to do and gets me one step closer to what’s next.”
Bill Farrell Memorial International
The women’s field at the Bill Farrell Memorial International featured several high-ranking American women in the field. US stars Erin Golston (50 kg), Samara Chavez (53 kg), Alex Hedrick (57 kg), Michaela Beck (59 kg) and Andrea Schlabach (62 kg) took home titles.
“As a NYAC athlete, it was very special to win the Bill Farrell in New York City this weekend,” said Golston. “Everything I’ve been working on over the past few months has been shown in every single one of my games. I would like to carry this momentum into the World Cup next month. I can barely wait for it.”
For full results click here.
Erin Golston won all three of her matches at the Bill Farrell Memorial International with a 10-0 technical superiority
Line-up for the US World Cup is set
It’s time to look forward to the upcoming World Championships in Coralville, Iowa on December 10th and 11th. The US women’s freestyle team is led by reigning world champion Amit Elor, along with 2022 world medalists Kayla Miracle and Mallory Velte, and 2019 world champion Jacarra Winchester.
Felicity Taylor should be a fan favorite with local Hawkeye fans. Taylor, a 2021 national collegiate champion for McKendree, moved to Iowa this year.
Lineup of the US women
50 kg — Alyssa Lamp
50kg — Erin Golston
53kg – Felicity Taylor
53 kg — Ronna Gross
55kg — Jacarra Winchester
55kg — Jenna Burkert
57kg — Alexandra Hedrick
57kg — Amanda Martinez
59kg – Lexie Basham
59kg — Michaela Beck
62 kg — Miracle of Kayla
62kg – Jennifer Rogers
65 kg — Mallory Velte
68kg – Sienna Ramirez
68 kg — Solin Piearcy
72 kg — Amit Elor
72 kg — Skylar Grote
76kg — Dymond Guilford
76 kg – Yelena Makoyed